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Angeles City - Archived News

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Angeles City

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Graft raps set vs Lapid on fertilizer scam

By Ding Cervantes (The Philippine Star)

ANGELES CITY, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman is set to file graft charges against Sen. Lito Lapid for his alleged involvement in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam when he was the governor of Pampanga in 2004.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also approved the filing of charges against several incumbent and former employees of the provincial government and the owner of the company that supplied the fertilizer.

Aside from Lapid, set to be charged are provincial officials Benjamin Yuzon, Vergel Yabut and Leolita Aquino; Ma. Victoria Aquino-Abubakar, president of Malayan Pacific Trading Corp., and Dexter Alexander Vasquez, owner of DA Vasquez Macro-Micro Fertilizer Resource.

In a resolution, the Ombudsman said Lapid and his co-accused violated the provisions of the anti-graft and corrupt practices law, the government procurement law and Article 217 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code.

The resolution was signed by Morales last June 3.

Ombudsman’s Task Force Abono, which investigated the fertilizer scam, said Lapid purchased P4.8 million worth of liquid fertilizer in May 2004, out of the P5 million he got from then agriculture undersecretary Jocjoc Bolante.

The task force, which finished its probe last Jan. 21, reported that the fertilizers were 1,000 percent overpriced.

It said Lapid reportedly admitted receiving P5 million from the Department of Agriculture, which the provincial government used to buy fertilizer and other farm inputs in 2004.

The Ombudsman said no bidding was conducted for the fertilizer purchase.

The task force cited records showing the provincial government, under Lapid, purchased 3,880 liters of fertilizer at P1,250 per liter from Macro-Micro Fertilizer.

Investigation showed the same kind of fertilizer costs only P120 per liter.

The Ombudsman cited a farmers group in Pampanga that denied receiving the fertilizer in 2004.

Recently, Lapid was tagged by whistle-blower Benhur Luy as the first senator to become a client of alleged pork scam brains Janet Lim-Napoles.

Luy’s files showed a breakdown of the cash advances, which Lapid supposedly received in 2003, when he was Pampanga governor, and another in 2005, when he was a senator.

Fontana spruces up ahead of APEC

By Reynaldo G. Navales

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE -- In preparation for Clark's hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit ministerial meet, Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino, the largest tourism estate inside the Freeport, instituted nine expansion projects, including a makeover of its convention center costing P200-million.

Manuel Sequeira, Fontana chief executive officer, said the projects also include the upgrading of its Clubhouse and Golf Course, acquisition of state-of-the-art facilities and construction of villas and rooms at the Fontana complex.

"The new convention center will provide additional 500 seats from its current 500-seating capacity. This also means additional 500 to 1,000 new jobs," he said during the opening of Fontana Coffee, Tea and Juice Bar by the Piano Lounge where American singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop held a press conference prior to his recent concert.

"All nine projects will be completed by December in time for the APEC meeting in January," said Sequeira.

Fontana, which sits in a 300-hectare property within the Freeport, is one of the many hotels inside Clark that is expected to provide accommodation to thousands of APEC leaders from countries like United States, Japan and China, among others.

Malacañang, in its July 22 memorandum, approved Clark and Bagac in Bataan as areas in Central Luzon to host one of the APEC meetings from January 6 to February 10. The memorandum also listed Metro Manila; Boracay and Iloilo in the Western Visayas; Tagaytay City in Southern Tagalog; and Metro Cebu in Central Visayas as approved venues for the APEC meet.

Sequeira said that Fontana management is working closely with the state-run Clark Development Corporation (CDC), particularly on APEC, stressing that all activities set for the summit will entirely benefit Clark.

He said that details for the APEC meet have yet to be finalized with the CDC and the organizing team. "We have not talked about the details yet but we are partners in this endeavor."

Earlier, CDC president and chief executive officer Arthur Tugade led APEC diplomats and other state officials who visited Clark for a familiarization tour inside the Freeport, where some 1,800 senior ministers of finance and tourism from 21 countries are expected to stay for two weeks.

Tugade and local government officials of Angeles City had also met last March to discuss plans for the Clark-Angeles greening and beautification, traffic situation and the hastening of the ongoing infrastructure projects in Angeles City prior to the summit. The meeting was participated in by private contractors, legal consultants, environment officials, local police, public transport representatives and other officials from the city government and the CDC.

Pamintuan reports on ‘fulfilled promises’ on Soca

Ian Ocampo Flora

ANGELES CITY -- An ecstatic Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan reported on the fulfillment of his other major campaign promises Wednesday during his State of the City Address (Soca) where he cited his administration's achievement on the fiscal, social and administrative management of the city.

Number one on the mayor's report is that Angeles City is now one of the few highly urbanized cities that are no longer dependent on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

The ratio of the internally generated revenues vis-à-vis the IRA is now 60:40, he said.

"This is a testimony to our efficiency in generating and collecting revenues and taxes, and our efforts at eradicating under-the-table transactions in payment of fees and taxes," Pamintuan said.

Pamintuan stressed that with the passage of Tax Ordinance 63, they expect that by the end of the year, the RPT revenues shall register dramatic increments, allowing the city to locally finance and support many social services and infrastructure projects.

The city was also been conferred the E-Readiness Award as one of the top 10 local governments by successfully complying with the Business Permits and Licensing Standards and with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards and procedures.

"We are also now using the Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, including the use of drone photography, for more accurate data base relative to real estate properties, resource management, boundaries determination, disaster risk reduction and preparedness, among other things," he said.

Education

Pamintuan reported that the City College of Angeles, which started with 300 students in 2012, now has 1,548 students which is equivalent to a 500 percent increase. The college has also expanded its courses from three to eight courses.

"Sa katunayan nga po, may kasunduan tayo sa Clark Development Corporation na kahit estudyante pa lamang sa CCA ay maaari nang makapagtrabaho sa mga locators sa loob ng Clark. Dugtong pa dito, mayroon tayong 217 iskolar na nag-aaral sa iba’t ibang pamantasan sa ating syudad," Pamintuan said.

Health

Pamintuan also reported on his revolutionary program of opening the Dialysis Center at the Ospital Ning Angeles. Recently, the city government also opened a new P50-million worth building facility that will house the city's plan for a coronary treatment center as well as cancer and trauma center.

From July 2013 to May 2014, some 95,544 patients have availed of medical services at ONA. Pamintuan said that in the past four years, some 372,362 patients have received treatment from the hospital.

Pamintuan also said that some 8,864 patients were able to receive dialysis treatments from July 2013 to May 2014. In all, the Renal Center has conducted some 25,071 treatments.

Pamintuan also reported on other achievements of his administration that drew applauses from the public, which assembled at Marquee Mall's event center.

Vice-Mayor Vicky Vega Cabigting said that the mayor’s speech was well presented, detailed and sincere. She added that these achie

2 dead, 2 cops held in foiled Angeles City robbery

Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon


ANGELES CITY—Two policemen were arrested while two of their suspected cohorts were killed in a shootout with members of the city police and personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Barangay Ninoy Aquino here on Monday. Police declined to disclose any information on the incident pending the drafting of an official report on the incident by Monday afternoon. But initial information obtained by the Inquirer from sources, who asked not to be quoted because of lack of authority to talk about the incident, showed that the incident happened in Marisol Subdivision, where the suspects tried to rob a poultry trader. They said both the city police and the Pampanga CIDG received a tip about the planned robbery by a group that included policemen. On Monday morning, policemen positioned themselves near the businessman’s house and noticed two men on board a motorcycle and a white Mercedes Benz van in the area. At 10 a.m., a tricycle arrived at the front gate to fetch an employee of the businessman, who was to deposit money in a local bank.

“The would-be victim has been depositing money in the bank every Monday,” a source said. While the tricycle was on its way to MacArthur Highway, the men on board the motorcycle blocked its path and robbed its occupants at gunpoint. Policemen chased the motorcycle and rammed it. A gunfight reportedly ensued, resulting in the suspects’ death. The Angeles policemen and CIDG personnel then accosted the white van’s occupants, who turned out to be policemen. A source said the arrested policemen were in “floating status” at the city police office in Camp Tomas Pepito here. Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan said he had prior knowledge of the planned robbery and relayed the information to the Angeles police officials. “This was tipped to me by one of the would-be participants on Wednesday last week,” Pamintuan said. Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon

ACWD, CDC ink agreement for P17M water project

(PR)

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Angeles City Water District (ACWD) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Clark Development Corporation (CDC) for a P17 million water project in the latter’s 256 square meter property in Little Baguio, Barangay Sapang Bato.

“Provision of potable water supply will greatly improve the hygiene and health of at least 841 families living in the area,” ACWD General Manager Reynaldo Liwanag said.

The Usufruct Agreement entered into by the two parties underscores the use of the CDC-owned land by the ACWD for the construction of a ground level water tank, pump stations, well sites and aeration/filtration sites that will fully provide the water needs of the residents of Sapang Bato with a term renewable after 25 years.

The agreement states that the CDC, being the administrator of the parcel of land, shall monitor the volume of water extracted from the storage tanks.

It likewise mandates ACWD to plant about 5,000 trees in the watershed and other reforestation areas that will be identified by the government-run office.

Water related projects are part of CDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility endeavors particularly for communities along the periphery of the Freeport.

This includes the rehabilitation of water system at San Vicente village in Bamban, Tarlac and the “Potable Water Supply Project” at Sitio Monicayo in barangay Calumpang, Mabalacat City.

Fontana infuses P200-M for expansion projects

By Joey Pavia (Contributor)

CLARK FREEPORT -- Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino, considered as the largest tourism estate in Clark, is investing at least P200 million for the expansion of its convention center.

Fontana chief executive officer Manuel Sequeira said that the on-going expansion work at the Fontana Convention Center will add 1,000 seats to its current 500-seating capacity. He was interviewed on Friday during the press conference for the concert of American singer-song writer Stephen Bishop.

He said they have eight other expansion projects, including the construction of villas and rooms at the sprawling complex. He has yet to disclose the amount to be used for the other expansion works.

Sequeira said the total nine projects, including the expansion work at the convention center, will be completed by December of this year. He added that the projects are for the staging of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in 2015.

Fontana, which sits on a 300-hectare area in Clark, will host the initial events of the APEC at Clark from January 26 to February 10.

Sequeira said that they presently have 571 villas, 66 rooms and at least 1,500 workers.

“I am happy because we now have more Filipino customers than foreigners. At least 70 percent of our total clients are locals,” said Sequeira.

“It’s good,” he added when asked about their occupancy considering it’s a lean season for tourism business in Clark.

ACCDO to remain strong, consistent

By Joey Pavia (contributor)

ANGELES CITY -- With a vision of genuine people empowerment, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, through the Angeles City Cooperative Development Office (ACCDO) headed by Ferdinand P. Calma, remain consistent with the promise of strengthening one of the bases of the city’s economy, the cooperative sector.

Pamintuan recognizes the role of the “cooperative movement” in the city’s economic front, which ultimately allows the local government to pursue its desired programs and plans.

“The economic advantages that our local coops have extended to the city, through the assistance of the ACCDO, have inspired the administration to build several of our projects – including the hospital extension at the Ospital ning Angeles, the City College, the Renal Care unit and so on,” expressed the mayor.

ACCDO, in coordination with the Angeles City Cooperative Development Council (ACCDC) and Cooperative Development Office (Pampanga Extension) successfully convened 98 percent of registered and operating cooperatives in the city and Freeport zone in order to educate and refresh officers of their organizations for a more efficient fiscal management.

“A sound fiscal management policy is influential in the growth and advancement of a business organization. What more with the cooperatives where more people, its members, are directly affected with it growth.” said Joseph Guintu, resource speaker for the said seminar.

It was in the post Pinatubo era, that more than 300 cooperatives were registered in the city. The incumbent mayor then on his first term fully supported the people in the massive organizing campaign. However, with the absence of a law (RA 6938 or the Cooperative law only passed in 1998), most of the registered cooperatives were delisted or failed to operate not even reaching a month after its registration.

“Tapos na po ang panahon na ang mga kooperatiba ay tinitignan bilang “kuha-pera-tiba” o anumang masamang misinterpretasyon sa sector. Ngayon po ang panahon na ang mga kooperatiba ng siyudad ay mulat at tunay na bumabangon at nagsisikap para sa ikauunlad ng kanilang mga miyembro,” said Calma.

“This seminar is one of the many programs we have agreed to in consensus with the council and ACCDO believing that services should not be entirely reliant upon the government. But we greatly appreciate Mayor Pamintuan in keeping his promise of full support the sector,” stated Bernard DT Chua, chairman of the ACCDC.

The seminar elicited active participation from the attendees on the scheduled lectures and workshops using their actual financial statements as reference on the activities instructed by Guintu. (AC-CIO)

Free seminar on money management held in Angeles

By Joey Pavia (contributor)

ANGELES CITY -- A retired colonel of the United States Air Force and stockbroker gave a free seminar on Thursday on money management at the Blossom Forth School here.

Willie Davis, who is married to a Filipina and based in the City of San Fernando, gave the talk on what one should learn about money that were not taught in school and the truth about money and “how it really works.”

He encouraged the rich and the working class to invest on mutual funds, stocks and real estate.

“It’s not important how much you earn or have. It’s the need to save and then invest them wisely and immediately. No one will stay poor if you learn to properly handle what you have,” said Davis. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Davis added that people must “plan and set a goal” to assure the bright future and peaceful existence of themselves and their respective family.

“Are you tired of being broke, busted, and disgusted? The seminar will free you from all these problems,” he said.

Davis and his wife Aura Sanchez-Davis are members of the Psalm 1 Victory Foundation Inc., a kids’ charity, which sponsored the seminar. His group recently led a feeding program in Quezon province.

The Davises thanked the owners of the school along Fil-Am Friendship Highway, Barangay Cut-cut here for providing the venue for the two-hour seminar.

Dev't firms optimistic with Angeles investment

By Ian Ocampo Flora

ANGELES CITY -- Officers of the AVG&P Architects and the Realty Development and Integrated Services Inc. (RDISI) expressed their optimism on Thursday in the boom infrastructure and realty developments in Angeles as they opened their new office at the Mint Hotel Tower here Wednesday.

The two firms said that the on-going development of the city under Mayor Pamintuan and the host of construction inside Clark shows the realty investment in Metro Angeles and Clark is in no way of slowing down.

AVG&P principal architect Andy Gulapa said that the hotel projects, condominiums and business establishments have been the bulk of major construction projects in the city. He added that most condominium developments here have been catering to foreign investors, clients and even local buyers.

"We have confidence in the realty developments in the city and our firms hope to be able to contribute to this wholesome development," Gulapa said.

AVG&P has been involved in major development projects in this city as well as Central Luzon. The projects include the Grandview Tower, Maharaja Tower and BGGC Complex among others.

Gulapa said that the development projects for hotels and condominiums in the city are now on the rise. He added that vertical construction is inevitable in a city that is both an urban and commercial center.

"The airport in Clark plays a crucial role. People who we talked to, before they invest, would always ask us about the local airport and it is a major consideration before they invest," Gulapa said, adding that further development of the airport will have a ripple effect on local investment prospects in the city.

Realty Development and Integrated Services Inc. president Rochelle Calma, for her part, said that Angeles City will need to be able to help steer the development growth in the city in terms of bringing more investors and putting more investment incentives.

Angeles qualifies for National Coop Awards

By Ian Ocampo Flora

ANGELES CITY -- The Angeles City Cooperative Development Office (ACCDO) bagged the Regional award for the Best Performing Local Government Unit for chartered cities in Central Luzon in the recently concluded Gawad Parangal at the Social Action Center of Pampanga in the City of San Fernando.

"Local Government Units play a crucial role in assisting our cooperatives overcome struggles in their sector. The quick advancement of the cooperative movement is also influenced by how the local administration in a city or municipality supports them," said Marietta Hwang, regional director of the Cooperative Development Authority.

Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan extended his praise and gratitude to the ACCDO for their valiant efforts that lead them to bag the awards.

"This is a manifestation of how the city's economy can grow tremendously through the help of cooperatives – and for the past years, the efforts of the ACCDO have ensured the growth of these local coops," Pamintuan said.

"Ang pagkamit ng award ay hindi lang basta basta. Pinaghihirapan at tinututukan para makamit ang pakay. Kaya't isang tunay na karangalan para sa siyudad ang karagdagang award ng City Cooperative. Patunay na tayo ay nagtratrabaho para sa lubos na ikauunlad ng mga Angeleño! King dahilan a iti, tutung sulagpo tana!" he added.

The 2013 accomplishments of the ACCDO was the basis for the award.

ACCDO was able to showcase exemplary performance in providing support services to cooperatives through regular technical support extended to existing cooperatives in the city.

"Ang trabaho sa kooperatiba ay hindi de kahon. Kailangan ang puso sa pag-gampan ng mga tungkulin dahil sa dynamikong karakter ng kilusang kooperatiba. Ating lalabanan ang kahirapan sa siyudad pamamaraan ng mga samahang kooperatiba!" said Ferdinand Calma, ACCDO chief.

The office in coordination the AC Multi Sectoral Coordinating Council (ACMCC), and other department of the Local Government, is currently doubling its efforts on how to promote the spirit of "cooperativism" in the barangays of the city through "barangayanihan".

For the first half of the year, more than 11 Pre-Membership Education Seminars (PMES) have already been conducted in the different barangays of the city while the office also receive regular request from walk in groups who require assistance for cooperative organization and registration.

The Regional Screening Committee screened more than 71 nominations but only 17 qualified for the nationals in different categories. Angeles is the only national candidate for Best Performing Cooperative Development office for chartered cities to the National Awards to be held in October.

Former Angeles, Bacolod mayors slapped with graft raps

By Cynthia D. Balana (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines–The former mayors of Angeles City and Bacolod City have been charged separately with graft in the Sandiganbayan for alleged questionable transactions during their tenures.

Former Angeles City Mayor Francis Nepomuceno was slapped with two counts of graft by the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB).

In the first offense, the information said that on June 8, 2010, Nepomuceno executed a deed of donation of the city’s Mitsubishi Adventure vehicle worth P786,000 in favor of Kapanalig Angeles City Inc. (Kapanalig), a nongovernment organization. Charged as coaccused was Kapanalig president Abelardo Pamintuan Jr.

According to the OMB, the two conspired to effect the donation which was “manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the city, considering its poor financial condition and the requirements of the city for service vehicles at the time.”

The second case, which referred to the same donation, violated the Local Government Code since the donee, Kapanalig, was ineligible to accept the vehicle from the donor, the city government, since the former was not a government agency or instrumentality.

The OMB charged former Bacolod City Mayor Luzviminda Valdez with four counts of graft and four counts of malversation of public funds through falsification of official/public documents for overpayments made to her by the city government totaling P383,323 through reimbursements.

Records showed the overpayments covered four separate transactions made by Valdez, which were supposedly incurred by the city government.

The OMB said that in one such transaction, the accused made it appear that she paid for P80,000 worth of medicines to the Negros Grace Pharmacy II by inserting items not actually purchased and altering the amounts paid in connection with the implementation of the Mobile Health Clinic Program on Jan. 8, 2004.

Angeles City Archived News

The older news reports are kept here

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